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“Like Visiting the Old Homestead.”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Big Trees Lodge

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Big Trees Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
36 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Like Visiting the Old Homestead.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 October 2013

My gosh! It's really hard to know how to approach a review of this hotel. 1. It is a lot more than a hotel. It personifies "Old Yosemite". When I walk the grounds or walk through the hotel I revel in the knowledge that I'm walking in the footsteps of the pioneers of Yosemite, my favorite place on earth. From as far back as I can remember until my teens, Yosemite was the highlight of summer. I, my family, and extended family would spend two to four weeks almost every summer camping in Yosemite. (Aunt and cousins were teachers.) So Yosemite is a huge part of my great memories of childhood. I remember driving by the Wawona on our way to the valley and always thinking how I'd love to stay there. Now we can and do. 2. It is a ways from the valley so a completely different experience from staying at the Lodge, the Ahwahnee, or camping in the valley. Think, traffic jams, the smell of exhaust, and noisy hoards of people in the valley. At the Wawona think quiet, restful relaxation. 3. A review for the Wawona would be a lot different depending on the season. The best thing going for it in the summer is a beautiful place to stay in a beautiful location, away from the maddening crowd. In all seasons (closed part of winter) you can sit and relax, or hike the many trails less traveled (some to lesser known waterfalls). So rather than complain about the lack of amenities in a 150 year old hotel, relish the opportunity of being able to experience some time with the grand old dame of Yosemite

Room Tip: Personal preference is any room in the main building, though persons with disabilities should probab...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank FredO764
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (558)
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Midwest
Level Contributor
49 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 October 2013

We loved the ambience and history of the white grand old hotel and white cottages with the white picket fences. The main hotel lobby and sitting area have an old time feel with a roaring fire. The waiter delivers drinks to you there or on the spacious porch. The breakfasts and dinners that we had were very good. The front desk staff and the waiters/waitresses were super friendly and very helpful. The hotel is located in a very pretty forested area with a big fountain in front, a pool, white adirondack chairs and deer scampering about. The annex has a large veranda with adirondack chairs to relax in as well. It is very close to the Mariposa Grove of the giant sequoias which we would recommend seeing. We got the room that we booked and it was spartan but clean. The beds were just ok. We did get a room with a bathroom in the annex which was convenient (versus those that had communal bathrooms and showers) and it had a clawfoot tub/shower. The not so good part is that the walls were super thin and the room was extremely hot - the boiler is old and no thermostat in the room. They did provide us with a fan so we opened the windows and used the fan to cool the room. We got slow wifi coverage but there was a sun room where the coverage worked well. Overall, we would stay again for one night and then move on to other lodging closer to the valley.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank BlubirdTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
174 reviews
85 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 October 2013

This attractive hotel was a good experience for us on a three-night stay, but I think we were lucky. Our room in the Little White Cottage was self-contained with its own bathroom - many rooms have communal showers etc., and our neighbour even had to cross to another building. (We got to know our neighbour well - the walls are paper thin and sound leaks out - I suppose he knew us as well as we knew him.) The room was simply but comfortably furnished and clean. I saw wheelchair ramps so some rooms are accessible but ours was a climb up some steps.

The main hotel has a home-like seating area in two large rooms with fireplaces (wood fires), where you can get drinks and snacks in the evening, attentively served. On two of our nights, a pianist played, including traditional songs that the families joined in. The atmosphere was schmaltzy but harmonious, and made us smile. We ate breakfast and dinner at the hotel and that was fine, also traditional: dishes like meat loaf - wholesome but not adventurous, and not quick, although that did not matter to us, in fact we enjoyed the leisurely pace.

The hotel is situated in a peaceful forest glade, with deer grazing on the lawn in the mornings and evenings, squirrels racing busily about and lots of birds, a green golf course across the road. We visited the sister hotel in Yosemite Valley, which was busy and noisy - I think we made a good choice, even though we were a drive from the Yosemite sights.

I'd like to go to Yosemite again and I'd readily stay at the Wawona again, but I'd be more curious about exactly which room we were booking

Room Tip: Enquire in detail about possible rooms, especially about the bathroom situation.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Cassini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gosforth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
241 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 385 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 October 2013

This grand old hotel was built back in the 1800's so it has lots of character. It is all white wooden exterior in a classic Victorian style. The evening meals and breakfasts were excellent, service was first class. However not all rooms have their own toilets so if you want your own facilities book a room in the Annex and specify that you want an en suite! The whole place is very old world, there are no TV's in the rooms or indeed anywhere in the whole place, which is no bad thing. You are a 30 -40 minute drive from Yosemite Village and the main valley but only 5 minutes drive from Mariposa Grove and 15 minutes from Glacier Point

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Dave T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
30 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 October 2013

It is shabby and needs some maintenance. The owners think that being quaint is an excuse to not have quality furniture and fittings. It is in a time warp. We stayed for 3 nights which without a phone signal nor wifi was inconvenient not only for keeping in touch with family but for checking out local information and onward reservations. There was a wifi signal in the far annex but it was a small public room and often crowded and too dark to see the keyboard!

Room Tip: There is no room service because there is no phone in the room!
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank GlobeskaterUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 September 2013

We stayed two nights and this is the worst hotel I have ever stayed in. I know by American standards its old but don't confuse old with tired. The hotel is in very poor condition. Only have the rooms have a bathroom on suite (which we had) and it was unbelievably awful. Our room (104) was opposite a generator, which kept us awake all night. I can’t prove it but -non-US residents occupied all the rooms opposite the generator. I guess they are unlikely to complain. We had to wait 30 min's for breakfast and one evening the first table available was nearly an hour (we went to bed with out eating!). Service or the waitresses were very nice, especially Natalie.

The trip to Yosemite center is 45 min's so it has no upside! I would drive 1o minutes longer and stay at the Tenaya Lodge. We stayed there the last night and it was great.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Andrew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eagle River, Alaska
Level Contributor
126 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 September 2013

I've stayed at the Wawona hotel with my family almost every year for 30 years.
Wawona is outside the hustle and bustle of Yosemite Valley, nestled in giant pines and sequoias with rivers and hiking trails, a golf course, and an old fashioned swimming pool in the middle of a large lawn.
We've spent hours exploring swimming holes in the rivers, laying next to the pool, and playing Pictionary and cards in the game room in the evenings. Even got "kicked out" of the game room one night (adults and kids!) due to our raucous game of Pictionary which went on past the quiet hour of 10pm.
Wawona is a gem. It's a place to slow down, unplug, and enjoy the smell of the pines and the sound of quiet conversations. (Hence, our being kicked out of the game room. We still laugh about that). The rooms are rustic, some with bathrooms, some without. Each room is decorated differently, and each one special. The lighting is dim (I find as I age that I have to bring a regular light bulb with me to replace the energy efficient bulb which does not allow me to read).
Favorite rooms are the second story of the wing overlooking the golf course because we like to relax in the Adirondak chairs outside each room in the evening, enjoying a snack and photographing the stellar jays who land close enough to touch, and the deer that congregate on the golf course each evening. If you get a room without a bath, the shower rooms downstairs are old-world white locker rooms that remind me of a country club. Makes the experience more authentic.
There are also fantastic rooms in the cabins behind the main lodge, great for renting as a group. You really can't go wrong with any room here - you just have to know that this hotel is an historic one, complete with the quirks of building styles a hundred years ago.
I miss the personal recognition we used to have as lifelong guests - but the staff is still quite nice, and this hotel has become a part of my family heritage. It's a wonderful place for couples and for families. You won't like this hotel if you're looking for night life, loud music and the modern conveniences of a city hotel.
You'll fall in love with it if you want to slow down and enjoy life.

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking the golf course are perfect for watching deer. They face the road, but traffic is...
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Live2TravelReview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Big Trees Lodge

Property: Big Trees Lodge
Address: 8308 Wawona Road, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 (Formerly Wawona Hotel)
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Yosemite National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:2 star — Big Trees Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 104
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Big Trees Lodge is cherished as one of the most respected and most frequently visited Yosemite hotels. Its authentic Victorian architecture features beautiful white buildings, classic verandas and lush natural surroundings. At the Big Trees Lodge, there's something for everyone-including golf, tennis, horseback riding, or fishing. Evenings are spent gathered around the piano for musical performances in the lounge. Big Trees Lodge dining is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Wawona Hotel Yosemite National Park
Wawona Yosemite National Park

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